T for TRAI, telecom, technology, transformation

Last week, I received a frantic call from my son during his semester exams. His mobile data was crawling at a snail’s pace, rendering the university’s online library inaccessible.

Shubhendu Parth
New Update


Last week, I received a frantic call from my son during his semester exams. His mobile data was crawling at a snail’s pace, rendering the university’s online library inaccessible. Adding to the frustration, the hostel’s broadband had also crashed. I advised him to check for a better signal location, but there was no respite. Finally, his friend, who was using a different telecom service provider (TSP), was able to help as he was getting top-notch speed.


Interestingly, while both TSPs were among India’s top two service providers, their performance was worlds apart.

India’s mobile phone boom has undeniably connected millions at affordable rates. Yet, a persistent issue lingers–inconsistency in Quality of Service (QoS). For the average consumer, a seamless connection is not a luxury but a necessity. From students to professionals, a stuttering call or sluggish data speed can disrupt lives and livelihoods. The daily frustration of dropped calls, buffering videos, and patchy network coverage is a stark reality that demands immediate attention.

This multi-faceted problem stems from infrastructure limitations, particularly in rural areas, leading to unreliable connections. Peak-hour congestion strains network capacity and lacklustre customer service exacerbates the situation. The impact extends beyond individual inconvenience, stifling economic growth. Businesses, especially in IT and e-commerce, require robust and reliable connectivity. Disruptions can lead to a loss in productivity and missed deadlines, ultimately hampering growth.


Addressing the challenge requires a multi-pronged approach. Firstly, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) must strengthen QoS regulations and ensure transparent reporting of network performance metrics. Telecom companies, on their part, need to prioritise investments in infrastructure and embrace new technologies to enhance connectivity.

Moreover, fostering healthy competition within the sector incentivises service providers to innovate and improve their offerings. Consumers also play a crucial role by being informed about their rights and actively raising concerns with service providers and regulatory bodies like TRAI.

TRAI’s recent initiative to mandate granular reporting of base station details is a welcome step in this direction. The 26 April order directs service providers to submit additional information, including site location, radiating frequency, technology used (2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G), type of media on which the base station is connected, and the date of commissioning.


Presently, QoS is measured at the telecom circle level, which averages outage data, undermining the impact of patchy connectivity. TRAI aims to improve accountability and identify network weaknesses by collecting detailed data on network infrastructure. Shifting accountability to the district level further ensures a more precise picture of network performance, enabling targeted interventions to address issues.

TSPs should view this initiative as an opportunity for improvement. By cooperating with TRAI and investing in network upgrades, particularly in underserved regions, they can ensure consistent high-speed connectivity. This will help elevate user experience and unlock the full potential of India’s digital revolution.